Do you love when your dog comes in for a kiss, only to recoil when the close contact comes with a big cloud of bad breath? Does your dog seem to lose teeth faster than your first-grader? If so, it is time to take a closer look at her dental health.
There are several signs of dental problems in dogs. They include:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed gums
- Tumors in the gums
- Cysts under the tongue
- Loose teeth
Preventing dental problems in dogs is as easy as it is for people: a little daily maintenance goes a long way. Putting your hand into the mouth of an apprehensive dog, however, can be intimidating. Here are some suggestions.
- Start by massaging your dog’s lips with something she really likes, such as peanut butter, to get her used to having her mouth touched.
2.The next step is to use either gauze, a finger toothbrush, or a regular dog toothbrush to gently rub the dog’s gumline and teeth. It is best to work at a 45-degree angle with small, circular motions. Do not use toothpaste meant for humans- it may upset your dog’s stomach.
3. Give your dog a reward after brushing, no matter how the session went. That way, she will associate brushing with something positive. Repeat this process at least two to three times a week.
Chewing is another way to help alleviate tartar, and most dogs want to chew anyway. Suggested treats include nylabones, antlers, and “brushless toothpaste” chews, such as Greenies and Ark Naturals. Just make sure the treats are big enough so your dog doesn’t choke, and are not hard enough to crack her teeth.
At some point, your vet may want to do a more thorough cleaning that involves anesthesia and extractions. Hopefully, taking care of your dog’s teeth regularly will prevent the need for more invasive procedures later in life.
No matter the age, it is always important to keep an eye on your dog’s dental health. Anyone who has had a toothache knows just how painful they are, and dogs are unable to explain that their mouth hurts. Owners must be extra vigilant to keep their dogs healthy and comfortable!